Drama on the Tideway

Reading about this week’s happy ending where a ‘jumper’ met his rescuer by distributing leaflets at the scene of the watery event on Waterloo Bridge, lo and behold a happy meeting was arranged and no doubt grateful thanks exchanged between the two main players.

So too, today’s drama was also played out.  A sudden kerfuffle and shouts rang out, and running footsteps proclaimed an unusual event.  Alas, slow to react from my drawing board to the flashing emergency lights on a fast-approaching craft.  An amazing scenario was happening on our river frontage.

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The RNLI rib lifeboat landed on our shelving beach and two burly chaps leapt out in the chase of whom we knew not.  Just then, a melee of activity took place at the drawdock when local police joined the rescue.

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At the same time, the Fire Brigade’s substantial rescue tender arrived from nowhere (she must have been patrolling local waters some five miles from her base at Lambeth!).  Meanwhile, a fast police launch turned up and lay off-shore to monitor the events.

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The main player of all this must have been another ‘jumper’ or perhaps a smash and grabber that went wrong – we will, no doubt, find out more anon.  Access through the large steel Watergates was hindered by a ‘tranche’ of sand which had been dumped by the falling spring tide.  Alas, we had no shovel to hand, just a trowel which was more than useless.

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The only way to extract the victim (or main player) was to evacuate him by lifeboat to Greenwich Pier and then by ambulance to a local A&E.  Just as the script might have described, a floating grip was plucked out of the fast running tideway and also escorted to the Pier!!

The only team missing on this amazing operation was a TV camera crew!

About RiverWatch returns

Peter Kent shares his Thames riverside studio viewpoint

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